Early Oct 2015, after streaming the Hamilton cast recording non stop (NON STOP!) for two weeks after its late Sept release, I had a revelation. I am a grown ass woman, in charge of my own finances and scheduling. And so it’s actually possible for me to buy tickets to a Broadway show and go to Broadway to see it, hopefully still with much of the principal cast. And so I did! And I’ve been counting the days for the last 6 months. (Also, it’s totally ridiculous that I did this, having already had my March New Orleans girls weekend booked, but eff it, I was not throwing away my shot! (If you’re wondering whether I’ll continue quoting Hamilton, probably. I’m really Helpless about it….and yes, I know that one is a stretch)).
And we got on the plane! Friday morning, overwhelmed with all the possibilities and choices this city has to offer (it’s first time viisting for both Kate and myself), we headed off to Brighton Beach for all the piroshki, dumplings, and pastries we could carry. The weather isn’t cooperating, but at least the projected snow didn’t happen. Still, 45* to 34* and rainy isn’t ideal. But we’re from Seattle. We know how to layer our clothing. AND you basically get the boardwalk to yourself in this weather. Not that we spent a lot of time at the actual beach, but still…
The Oceanview Cafe (which is two blocks from the ocean and has no view), offered many Ukrainian and Russian dishes, so we had some Vareniki and Pelmeni. Which honestly are the same dumplings, right? I mean, not looking to start an international incident, but they’re also the same as Polish pierogis, yes? All equally delicious and magical, but I sure can’t discern a difference. *smile* When we couldn’t eat any more, we bought pastries and piroshki as we wandered around, taking several back to our hotel room. Yay for delicious snacks!! (Kate, who has strong food preferences, had to do some googling to find the Russian for ‘potato’ filling. I made a few $2 gambles…biting into the dough and wondering what filling would greet my tongue. Sometimes this was wonderful (peas! Some yummy type of seasoned meat!) and once, not so much (holy crap, that is salty. Like, wow, that’s just the saltiest cheese ever, and it’s a fist sized lump of cheese in this dough. I mean, this cheese would be lovely in smaller amounts or as a garnish (like with feta or gorgonzola), but as the only ingredient and in such a huge quantity, it was like a salt lick)! Later, we found a place with english translations, and they offered both sweet cheese and salty cheese as fillings. Truth in advertising!
Friday evening, we wandered over to Greenwich Village to meet up with Joseph (high school pal and fellow musical theatre nerd. He hipped me to Hamilton a year ago, during its off broadway stages) and his delightful wife Michelle. Lovely dinner at Joe Jr’s Diner. When Kate asked for more gravy for her open faced turkey sandwich, they brought an entire BOWL of gravy. Best place ever!!! Then off to see “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind” (NYC’s 8th longest running show! “Suck it, Blue Man Group!”). Great fun, as they attempt to perform 30 plays in 60 minutes, with the audience determining the play order by shouting after each play ends. New York Neofuturists Theatre
As we made our way back to the hotel at 1:30am, Kate and I were very impressed to be living a rock and roll lifestyle. Ha! Not so much, as bars and clubs are open until 4am, we definitley passed several groups just heading out for the evening, as we were stumbling back to our beds, feeling proud of how late we’d been out.
Then my alarm went off stupidly early in the morning, as Kate got to roll over and go back to sleep in her bed, because Joseph had come up with a great idea for our 2nd Broadway show (Hamilton isn’t until Monday). Joseph says “I’ve decided we’re lining up early on Saturday morning for ‘Disaster’ tickets because, after twenty years, you DESERVE to finally see Adam Pascal at the Nederlander Theatre.” Yay!! I got to add a new piece to my collection of RENT actors I’ve seen live! (Although this was the first time ever outside of Seattle, and at the Nederlander, no less!).
Once rush tickets were acquired, back to the hotel to meet Kate. We walked over to the Chelsea Market for lunch. Very crowded madness, but some tasty options and fun things to explore. Then a rainy wander through the Chelsea neighborhood. Found a Samsung Experience building (Man, being in THE major media market is interesting). Got to take a virtual reality tour, where I ended up swimming with Beluga Whales and freaking Narwhals. It was magical and amazing and tugged at my heartstrings. Narwhals Song (Kate was gladded the waiver we signed didn’t force her to abandon her Apple phone or watch)
Sat evening, off to the Nederlander Theatre, and to meet up with Michelle and Joseph again. “Disaster” is a delightfully stupid show. It’s so silly, and it uses its jukebox 70’s songs as punchlines, which works pretty well. And it was wicked cool getting to see Adam Pascall from 7 rows away. The show was pretty full of big names, actually. AND it happens to be Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS fundraising time. So after the show, they auctioned off the opportunity to be on stage as Jeremy Jordan showed up to sing one of his songs from Newsies. Hey, those things I’ve only ever seen on youtube…I actually got to be in the audience for one of them. Extra bonus! Then to another Diner for a late night meal. Michelle ordered the $12 quiche special, and I kid you not, they brought her HALF OF A QUICHE. Value!!
Today (Sunday) we went to a Mets game. It was the first (and probably only) day without rain and with sunshine. Unfortunately our seats were in shade, so it was freezing. Still, it was great fun. Opening weekend. Great energy. The fan trash talk was most excellent. Getting to hear a person with a thick New York accent non-ironically yell “You’re a bum! A bum!!” was great. And the interplay between the Phillies fans scattered around and the rest of the Mets fans were great. The Mets lost, sadly. But they did get a home run which was fun to see. And the guys in front of us LOST THEIR MINDS, which was great, but then they started taunting the lone Phillies fan in our section, leading Kate and I to ask, “do they realize that the Mets are still losing, even after that homerun?”
HUGE congrats to The Mets and Citifield employees. They were, unilaterally, the most genuinely friendly and helpful and nice stadium employees I’ve ever encountered. Like, every single person was unusually friendly and nice. The wand check security guy asking each person, “how you doing today?” as he wands you. And folks throughout smiling and offering advice. I’d been a bit concerned as my jacket is red (and my scarf is white) and we were playing the Phillies. Happily the hat I bought seemed to help. Plus, it was free Rally Towels day. The food options at the stadium were great, too. We joined the legendary line at Shake Shack. Delicious burger. And Kate was SO excited about cheese sauce on her fries AND hot dog! And even though the line was insane, we managed to get our order and just get our butts into our seats before first pitch. Yay!
Weather was gorgeous, and probably wouldn’t have been freezing if we’d been in sunshine. Still, hooray for baseball!
This evening we rode up to Harlem for super excellent soul food at Sylvia’s Restaurant (on Michelle’s recommendation). Yum! Ribs and fried chicken and rad mac and cheese. Plus, when a really rocking gospel song would come on the radio, the little kids at several tables around us would dance in their chairs…and one little guy just had to get up to dance, and then he had drum sticks to play on the table. His parents came prepared!)
It’s been a really lovely and low stress trip. While we’ve done a lot, no day has felt “overbooked.” We even came back to the hotel for a brief mid-afternoon rest on both Fri and Sat.
Tomorrow we’ll probably see a museum or two, and maybe wander in Central Park (depending upon how hard it’s raining). And then get ourselves near the Richard Rodgers Theatre with a few hours to spare (because, ya know, they’re sold out months and months in advance and principal cast will start leaving, so this really isn’t an opportunity we’ll be able to reschedule, should a subway train breakdown or who knows). Yay!!